Rethink over York anti-terror barriers after Shambles outcry
The anti-terror barriers installed at one end of Shambles in York will be replaced, councillors said today (Saturday).
The huge metal bollards caused a storm of protest after they were installed at the Pavement end of the famous street last week.
Traders said they would block deliveries to shops on the street in the busiest retail weeks of the year.
There were also concerns about how the large obstacle would restrict access for wheelchair users, and funnel pedestrians into a very small space at a time when Covid is still a concern.
The Shambles barriers were one of many installed to counter a potential terror threat to York in the festive season, on the advice of counter terrorism police.
Now, though, there has been a rethink. Following the criticisms, City of York Council, Make It York and the police “have agreed an alternative temporary arrangement which will fit across the Shambles’ junction with Pavement and will be put in place as soon as the national team can do so,” said a statement from Make It York today.
The statement went on: “The current temporary measures will be replaced with a different layout which will improve access for wheelchair users, allow pallet deliveries using an electric trolley system, as well as increase pedestrian flow.
“In the longer term the permanent measures, set to be discussed by senior councillors later next week, will provide a better solution, which will respond to the security advice, without impacting on the city’s unique characteristics.”
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, the council’s executive member for transport, said: “Partnership work between safety experts and affected businesses has identified a workable, accessible and safe solution, which will suit businesses as well as pedestrians.
“The contractors will install the revised temporary measures as soon as they end their work supporting security at COP26 in Glasgow.
“Permanent safety measures, due to be discussed by the executive soon, will see the busiest parts of our city protected with less intrusive and more attractive counter-terrorism barriers.”
On Twitter, David Scaife, the chair of York Retail Forum, said: “As I’ve stated many times, we definitely need barriers for safety but there are much better options out there and we already have some in the city.
“Also any new barriers that are introduced can’t add risk somewhere else, like the new archway on Coney Street is.”
Make It York has written to all affected businesses and will be helping them to facilitate deliveries through the new barriers.
All other barriers across the city will be staffed for emergency access throughout the Christmas market.
The statement said: “Permanent measures developed with Counter Terrorism and police advisers will resolve many of these issues and look so much better than the necessary but ugly temporary arrangements. ”